I was due to start an English PhD this September but didn’t get the funding. All public funding is extremely difficult to get, even more so now because higher education funding is being decimated.
See more about my Funding journey here: Help Fund my PhD
Provided I can raise enough funds, I will start next September 2015. I hope to research ‘The Representation of Care Leavers in Literature’. I hope to change the outcomes for Care Leavers and this means changing social consciousness and stereotypes.
I began my research journey many years ago when I too grew up in care. For those that go through the state system, they will know that this experience never leaves you.
A care leaver who at sixteen is left without home or support has to change in order to survive. The research looks at how care leavers have been represented, in the past, present and what the possibilities could be for a positive future. I propose to examine the impact of living in care on the construction of coherent narratives of identity and how this is represented in contemporary fiction.
I want to examine this research through the lens of both creative and critical practice. This means that I will write an autobiographical novel and a critical thesis.
‘Hiraeth’ is an autobiographical novel. Hiraeth has no word in English. It is a Welsh word meaning homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was.
There does not appear to be any critical research about care leavers in literature.
The creative piece will explore my own experiences of leaving care as well as considering the positive aspect that reading fiction has had on my life.
This research has a literary purpose, a social purpose, which will comment on what happened to care leavers in the seventies and eighties and is still happening in society now; it is an important story that needs to be told.
If I can begin the process of challenging the stereotypes of care leavers as drug addict, homeless, or in prison; I will be adding a new voice to the critical and creative collective consciousness. I want to illuminate the voiceless, the maginalized children of society. This will broaden dialogue and possibly create a new cultural identity for care leavers.
I am also a campaigner for care leavers and am a volunteer Social Media Coordinator for the Every Child Leaving Care Matters campaign.